Planning Holiday Parties

The holidays provide a great opportunity to have a party.  People are usually in a festive mood and ready to celebrate.  Planning is easy because decorations are available everywhere and many stores run sales on consumable items.  You can choose to plan an elaborate, expensive party or a simple, inexpensive party depending on time available and your budget.  Before making such decisions, consider how many of the holiday parties are at your home.  Do you entertain on Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukah, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day? If you host every holiday party you may want some help with the preparations.  Begin your preparations by buying home/food magazines.  They contain
ideas on food preparation and home decorations.  You might also want to use some of the suggestions listed below on
giving parties.

Elaborate and Expensive:

  • Arrange a dinner to be prepared and served by a caterer.
  • A less expensive alternative would be to have the food prepared by a restaurant. Then, all you have to do is pick up the food and serve it.
  • Hire a service to decorate you home for the appropriate holiday season.
  • Use your finest china, crystal, and silver.
  • Use linen tablecloths and napkins.
  • Serve champaign or wine with the meal.
  • Buy fresh floral arrangements to coordinate with the holiday.
  • Place a wrapped gift for each guest at his table place.  A unique ornament would work for
    Christmas.  Gourmet chocolate works for any occasion.
  • Hire a cleaning service to come a day or two before the party.

Simple and Inexpensive

  • Buy your decorations and paper goods when they are on sale.  This best time to make these purchases is at the end of the season.  Store them in a labeled plastic container for next year.
  • Take advantage of the traditional holiday decorations already adorning your home.  For other parties during the
    year you might need to buy banners, crepe paper, and balloons to create a festive atmosphere.
  • Plan a traditional American meal or introduce a change in the menu by preparing an ethnic food such as Italian, Mexican, German, or Greek.  Keep in mind, however, that traditional foods such as turkey, ham, sweet potatoes and dressing are discounted during this time of year.
  • Coordinate a potluck in which each family brings a food dish to share with the group.  Clean-up is simplified because you have not created such a large mess preparing food.
  • Use plates, glasses, and silverware that can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
  • Decorate the center of each table with a candle or a single flower surrounded by greenery.  Another center piece idea is a clear dish filled with the appropriate holiday candy.  For Thanksgiving, use candy corn and for Christmas, use red and green candies. You could put together your own simple arrangement such as miniature pumpkins and Indian corn on some silk leaves. For the Christmas holiday, wrap garland in a circle and put some ornaments in the center.
  • For crowds of more than twelve people, consider using paper plates, cups and napkins as an alternative.
  • At your New Year’s party include a piece of paper and festive pencil (as a party favor) at each place.  Have
    each guest make a list of their New Year’s resolutions.
  • Designate an area for soft drinks, tea, coffee and punch so everyone can serve themselves.  Red punch
    coordinates well with a Christmas party but if spilled, is not easily removed from the carpet.
  • Make games available for all ages.  You may choose group games such as ‘Charades,’ ‘Outburst,’ or ‘Win, Lose
    or Draw.’  Another alternative is to set  up several card tables for cards and board games.

Hosting  suggestions for any type of party:

  • Plan ahead with food preparations to eliminate kitchen crisis and  stress when the guests arrive.
  • Clean your house the day before, not the morning of the party.
  • Set your tables the day before the celebration.
  • Greet each guest personally as they arrive.  Greet them with a smile and tell them how  happy you are to have them.
  • Do not spend most of the time in the kitchen with food preparations and  clean-up.  Enjoy your guests.

“The love of family and friends is the most  important ingredient in a holiday party!”


About Diana Koenig